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Tensions and challenges in China’s education policy borrowing
Education policy borrowing
Education reform
New Curriculum Reform
Education system
Issue Date: 
Tan, C. (2016). Tensions and challenges in China’s education policy borrowing. Educational Research, 58(2), 195-206.
Background: This article critically discusses the key tensions and challenges arising from the educational policy borrowing in China through its current education reform. Focussing on the New Curriculum Reform, the paper highlights the interactions and conflicts between foreign and local ideologies and practices.
Sources of evidence: The main sources of evidence that form the basis of the analysis for this article were research data from an open-ended questionnaire and semi-structured interviews conducted with 166 school principals, vice-principals and teachers from China between 2013 and 2015. Main argument It is argued that the New Curriculum Reform has borrowed selective ideas and practices from elsewhere, such as a school-based curriculum, student-centred pedagogy and formative assessment. It is further suggested that the borrowed policies are mediated and moderated by the ideological attitude of the Chinese educational stakeholders, stemming from the notion of ‘theory-ladenness’ within an exam-oriented paradigm.
Conclusions: The example of China illustrates the effects of an ideological attitude on educational policy borrowing that challenges the notion of universally appropriate ways of teaching, learning and reforming an educational system.
This is the final draft, after peer-review, of a manuscript published in Educational Research. The published version is available online at
0013-1881 (print)
1469-5847 (online)
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Appears in Collections:Journal Articles

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